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Tom Brewer

Sen. Tom Brewer

District 43

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09-30-2022 Weekly Update
October 3rd, 2022

One of the blessings of Nebraska is the border we share with the State of Wyoming, and the feeling is mutual. The similarities between the people, the culture, and the values in western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming are numerous.

Here in Nebraska we are a national leader in the production of food crops, and we are the Napa Valley of beef. Nebraska has more miles of rivers than any other State, and we have about the equivalent of Lake Huron worth of fresh water just under our feet.

Wyoming has a wealth of energy resources, arguably more than any other state. Wyoming was the 8th largest producer of natural gas, 9th largest producer of crude oil in the U.S. last year, with proven reserves of both that stretch into two other states. At least one-third of the coal reserves in the United States are found in Wyoming. In 2018, 40% of the coal mined in the U.S. came from Wyoming. Most of it was delivered to customers east of the Mississippi on modern, double-track high-speed railroads that pass through Nebraska. This coal has provided Nebraska with clean, reliable and affordable electricity for generations, and tens of thousands of exceptionally good jobs too. 

When you consider how lucky Nebraska is to share a border with the state of Wyoming, you have to ask; why do the boards of our Public Power utilities want to “decarbonize” electricity generation in Nebraska? Do they think wind turbines and solar panels are going to replace coal and natural gas-powered generation? Do they understand what will happen to railroad jobs in North Platte and Alliance, and the jobs found in communities near power plants if we stop using coal and gas to make electricity in Nebraska? It’s important to remember there is no particulate matter leaving the smokestack at a coal-fired power plant these days. The “smoke” you see is almost 100% water vapor. All of the fly ash is captured and land-filled or used in concreate. 

I was pleased to read on the NPPD website that the “decarbonization” goal will “…be achieved by continuing the use of proven, reliable generation until alternative, reliable sources of generation are developed…” This is the right approach. Using “proven” sources of electricity generation is the correct answer. 

As the next legislative session approaches, I am considering a number of bills that would address how we generate, transmit and distribute electricity in Nebraska. I would like to see the legislature partner with our public power utilities, and pass legislation that makes Nebraska a national leader in the new small modular nuclear reactor technology. 

Putting aside the far-from-settled argument over manmade carbon dioxide, nuclear power is the only source of electricity that is 100% free of pollution. There are zero emissions put into the environment by nuclear power. If the goal is to find a cleaner way to make electricity in Nebraska by 2050, the only “proven” way to do that is nuclear power. Until then, I’m really glad the coal mines in Wyoming are close by.

Sen. Tom Brewer

District 43
Room 1423
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2628
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